On 4th November 2014, the World Health Organisation produced guidelines endorsing wider access to naloxone for use by lay first responders in the community. Whilst naloxone has been on the WHO Essential Medicines list for some considerable time, this is the first time there has been specific WHO recommendations for its use as a ‘take-home’ intervention for the emergency management of suspected opioid overdose.

Scotland’s National Naloxone Programme was highlighted as an example of good practice in naloxone distribution and representatives were invited to speak at the launch of the guidelines in Geneva. The head of the Scottish Government’s Drugs Policy Unit, the National Naloxone Coordinator from Scottish Drugs Forum and Sharon, who has personal experience of using naloxone, all attended to talk about the importance of the programme.

The press release can be viewed here

The full guidelines can be viewed here.

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